Tunisia's Esperance crowned Arab champions

Omar Zaazou , Sunday 6 Aug 2017

In a match that was marred by ugly scenes as Al-Faisaly squad remonstrated furiously on referee Ibrahim Nour El-Din, Esperance emerged 3-2 winners to clinch the Arab Championship title

Al-Faisaly and Esperance players ready to vie for an aerial ball (Photo: Ahram)

Tunisian giants Esperance were crowned Arab champions after beating Jordanian side Al-Faisaly 3-2 in a thrilling affair in the final at the Alexandria Stadium on Sunday.

In a game that witnessed all regular-time goals come in the second half, Esperance went two-nil up - thanks to a brace from Saad Bguir in the 47th and 54th minutes respectively.

Al-Faisaly did not throw in the towel though despite going two goals down, with Akram Zuway and Khalil Beniateyah taking their side to extra-time.

But eventually Esperance were to emerge winners following a debatable goal from Chamseddine Daoudi in the first half of extra time that ultimately proved the winner.

The match witnessed some ugly scenes as the Jordanians remonstrated in an inappropriate manner against Egyptian referee Ibrahim Nour El-Din – who curiously opted against brandishing any red cards – following the goal.

Ahly and Zamalek had been taking part in this Arab Championhip edition, before the former were eliminated from the semis by Al-Faisaly and the latter waving the competition goodbye from the group stage. 

Controversial Esperance winner     

The Tunisians took the lead through Saad Bguir when he received the ball near the edge of the box before unleashing a low strike that found the back of the net two minutes after the break.

Bguir then made it two with a well-taken free-kick seven minutes later, with keeper Moataz Yaseen observing the ball as it went into the net.

But it wasn’t the end of the story though, with Akram Zuway meeting a low cross from the right to slot past the keeper in the 71st minute to pull one back.

And with just two minutes remaining till the end of regular time, Khalil Baniateyah scored the crucial equalizer with a headed goal from a diagonal cross that beat keeper Yaseen to take his side to extra-time.

Esperance took the lead again in the 101st minute when Franck Kom, who looked to be in an offside position, broke the offside trap before squaring the ball to Chamseddine Daoudi who scored into an empty net.

The goal sparked huge protests from Al-Faisaly squad, with ref Nour El-Din opting against issuing any red cards against the players who inappropriately surrounded him, as tensions continued between the players of both teams afterwards.

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